Extra Points: Eagles Erred in Firing Pederson
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie met with coach Doug Pederson Monday at his vacation home in Palm Beach, Florida, which is less than a half-mile away from Mar-A-Lago, President Donald Trump's retreat.
He took a page from his famous neighbor when he ended the meeting by telling Pederson, "You're Fired."
"It's not about did Doug deserve to be let go?," Lurie said during a bizarre, 45-minute teleconference Monday night. "No, he did not deserve to let go. We have to look to the future and it's about who would be the best coach for this football team moving forward."
Somehow, some way, he determined that the best coach is not Pederson, who was out just three seasons after delivering the franchise's first championship in 57 years.
According to cbssports.com, Pederson is the first head coach to be fired within three years of winning the Super Bowl since the Baltimore Colts canned Don McCafferty in 1973.
"Although I am disappointed that this chapter of my career has come to an end, I am extremely proud of what we accomplished together," Pederson said in a statement. "Through all the ups and downs, one thing remained constant about our team — an unwavering commitment to battle through adversity and to achieve our goals not as individuals, but as a collective unit. There is no better example of that than when we celebrated the first Super Bowl Championship in Eagles history together with our city. That is a memory we will all cherish forever."
I guess Philly is no longer so Special.
I wonder if they're going to take down that statue, too?
When Pederson met with the media two weeks ago, he indicated that he expected to be back as coach in 2021. And appearing alongside general manager Howie Roseman last Monday gave the impression that he would be returning.
Apparently, Lurie didn't agree.
After chatting with Pederson on Monday afternoon, he reached the ridiculous conclusion that "parting ways" with his coach was the best way to get the team back to a championship level.
"I have spent the last few weeks evaluating everything from this past year and looking ahead," Lurie said in a statement. "We are all very disappointed with the way our season went and eager to turn things around, not just for next season but also for the future of the franchise.
"Coach (Doug) Pederson and I had the opportunity to sit down and discuss what that collective vision would look like moving forward. After taking some time to reflect on these conversations, I believe it is in both of our best interests to part ways."
Notice Lurie didn't mention last week's 20-14 loss to Washington, which outsiders foolishly regarded as some sort of assault on the integrity of the sport. Never mind that Pittsburgh rested Ben Roethlisberger and several other starters that same day and as a result handed Cleveland a playoff spot.
How did that work out?
Could that be because Pederson wasn't the one who made the decision to pull Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld? Could Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman have directed the coach to make the move in order to enhance their draft position?
No truth to the rumor Roseman was wearing a tank top under his suit that day.
You can also forget that nonsense about Pederson losing the locker room. All that talk about players having to be restrained from challenging Pederson on the sideline was pure, grade-A baloney.
This is all about power.
Pederson correctly believed that he had earned the right to select his coaching staff while Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman wanted to continue to meddle in those decisions like they did a year ago, when they forced Pederson to fire offensive coordinator Mike Groh a day after Pederson said he would be back.
This time, Pederson had indicated he was planning to promote passing game coordinator Press Taylor to offensive coordinator. There was also speculation that he wanted to hire former Eagles defensive backs coach Cory Undlin to replace departing Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator.
Evidently, winning the franchise's first championship since 1960 just three years ago didn't carry much weight.
Pederson was the fall guy for a series of miscues committed by Roseman and company.
The team has drafted horribly in the last few years, preferring to load up with veterans via free agency and trades in order to make a run. The strategy paid off in 2017, when guard Brandon Brooks, running back LeGarrette Blount, safety Malcolm Jenkins, defensive end Chris Long and some quarterback named Nick Foles delivered a 41-33 victory in Super Bowl LII.
That approach also helped the Eagles reach the playoffs in both 2018 and 2019.
But it didn't work in 2020.
Aging and injured veterans like wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, and tackle Jason Peters - Lurie's best friend - were useless. Carson Wentz regressed to the point where he ended the season on the bench behind rookie Jalen Hurts. The offensive line and secondary were riddle with injuries to the point where many positions were manned by guys who were working at Wawa a few weeks earlier.
None of it was Pederson's fault.
All of it was Roseman's fault.
Lurie fired the wrong guy.
Pederson could have a new job tomorrow if he wants it. There's a good chance he could eventually wind up back in Kansas City as Andy Reid's successor. But he doesn't have to make that decision right away, considering the Eagles still owe him $12 million for the last two years of his contract.
Meanwhile, the Eagles have a host of choices. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Bills offensive coordinator Brian Dabol, and Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith are considered contenders, as is current Eagles running backs coach/assistant head coach Duce Staley.
Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, a Ventnor native and Holy Spirit High School graduate, should also get an interview, considering the work he's done with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and previously San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
But they never should have fired Doug Pederson.
It's pure Mar-A-Lunacy.